Northgard, initial thoughts

Northgard Title image by Kurunya

Traditionally I hate RTS (real time strategy) as I like to ponder and choose and not feel like The game is a click-frenzy; however Northgard is so darn good I have to share. It is friendly to new players, has good gameplay which scales well, both single player campaign and multiplayer, and fantastic artwork. I grabbed it on a Steam sale and do not regret it. I’m still not confident that it’ll suit my game style and even in a basic game it feels chaotic. For now loving the game.

Legion flying (pathfinder), DK Mount, and Nightfallen rep Done

I’ve completed the Pathfinder achievement and gained flying in Legion. Crikey that was a long process – mainly due to the huge quest chains and the one required raid. I loved it regardless of the length of the quest chains as it felt a lot like a congruent story which was similar in style to what I would expect from a book or from  pen and paper rpg. I mean that to be very high praise.

I’m also very excited and pleased that is over. I don’t have time for alts but I am considering doing daily quests on one of my other level 110 characters to get and spend Order Resources; for gold. Would be nice to start Battle for Azeroth with a nest egg. It also makes alt levelling far easier.

I was also finally able to finish the DK class quests which grant the flying undead dragon, and also have got Exalted rep with the Nightfallen. The DK class quests are amazing! I think Legion was worth the effort purely due to the integrated storyline and class quests I’ve seen – and I’ve only seen the DK quest line and a little of the Druid line.

A huge week. Happy killing.

Legion Flying is not hard, it is time consuming

I’m still playing WoW Legion after returning 3 months ago – specifically I’m trying to see the story (meaning world quests, dungeons, and raid content on scrub level), and get the Flying Achievement. For the first few 5-6 weeks I didn’t think I cared about flying as it seemed a task for later, but now it frustrates me watching other players swoop in, complete something, and swoop out. I’m now 5 weeks into playing scrub/casually and creeping up on the farmable reps, and the (huge) zone quests in Suramar.

Legion Flying takes dedicated attention to get because it requires completing all the zone quests, considerable effort in reputation farming, and making sure you have travelled everywhere. Those tasks unto themselves are worth it because they help/force the player to see the content. I dislike how unfriendly to roadways and cumbersome some of the zones are (High Mountain is a disgrace). So Legion Flying is essentially very easy when compared to very difficult content like the Mage-Tower fights, however it takes a concentrated effort of many months when you play very casually.

If I get Flying, see the raids, and a second Legendary drop by the time the expansion ends then I will be happy. … In the pic blow is Mortigen wearing a terrible clown-suit leveling drops surrounded by a few ghouls (unholy spec), a bodyguard, and a quest follower.

WoW Art contest finalists are incredible

As reported by WoWHead – the finalists of the student art contest are fantastic. The selection has world of warcraft based in-game environments, new models, and animations.

Presented by Blizzard Entertainment’s University Relations and World of Warcraft development teams, the seventh annual Blizzard Student Art Contest has drawn to a close. After some fervent debate and impassioned deliberation, our judges sifted through the many remarkable entries and identified the winning entries.

Take a look. So, so great.

What did I play this weekend?

So what did I play this weekend? Well, two little little word games on my phone, a very short burst of Civ6 which I abandoned because the starting conditions were really poor after 20 turns, and World of Warcraft: Legion !

On WoW: Legion…

  • I’ve chosen to take my Druid into one area as a primary character, and play my Death Knight and a Demon Hunter through others. That way over the next 6 months I can see plenty of the zones, learn a few classes, and casually click my way through the world content. perhaps teh Druid will get there first, maybe the DK, lets see.
  • I love the story so far (only one zone finished, and the Druid is just on level 103).
  • Having the “special” mobs marked with a star on the map is handy and I’m always trying to kill/complete them.
  • Getting “free” artefacts is wonderful, but getting special storylines is even better. Frankly the weapons would not need to be “legendary” for this feature to be great.
  • I missed playing this style of game, and it took a little while or my fingers to remember the keyboard. I can’t smoothly fight while strafing around a target yet, but that will come again.
  • I stil suck at watching the mob, watching my cooldowns, and watching the area around me. I reversed my Druid Bear into another monster a few times, and thankfully Druid Tanks can still take a serious beating before they die.
  • I’ve died a few times, but not due to falling damage or AFK (yet). Repairs are not cheap.
  • The Demon Hunter feels like its a bit of a gimmick, but its also darn fun so far. I guess the Death Knight looked the same way too in Wrath of the Lich Kind, and its still my favourite class.
  • I’m not preordering the next expansion yet, as you need a level 110 character to unlock the new races via a rep grind. As I’ve not played Legion mainstory yet, the idea of rushing through it to just grind a rep seems silly. I’d also be surprised if the classes were not made available to players without the grind once the game is officially launched. The grinders get the races months early, whcih is a reward of sorts.
  • I also plan to farm some old dungeons or transmog, mounts and such, irritate the world around me, and make a general nuisance of myself.

Happy killing folks, TyphoonAndrew

Chuckle

Its been a while since I considered WoW and thats not going to change soon – however I came across a wow’er’s blog which discussed the early levels and couldn’t resist this old bad joke. Happy travels folks.wow_deadr

Playing Civ6, newbie mistakes are great fun

I bought Civ6 a day ago and started playing. Wow, the game has changed since my old days of Civ and Civ2. The endeavours and strategies look like they will be the same but so much of the game interface has changed – for the better. Here are my impressions. 

  • I sat clicking like an idiot for a long while wondering why my setteler wouldn’t make a city when I pressed the B button. Even moving him around didn’t work, till I saw the build button. 
  • It took me ages to work out that Traders made roads. Good change, but tempting to use Romans as empire choice to get them automatically (so I read).
  • I still don’t know how to use Envoys or all of the political levers. Do spies exist anymore?
  • It starts so simple and ramps out of my comfort zone quickly. 
  • I’m yet to change the assigned population tiles for the city. 
  • I’m yet to suss how to use districts properly. 
  • I still want to crush everyone on the map with hordes of units, so maybe I should be playing the barbarians. 
  • I love and hate the new barbarians. Bastards are a pain but good for unit xp. 
  • Being a single player turn based game suits the home life I have, as I can walk away anytime. I almost grabbed my copy of MOO3 out of the box but decided a new game would be more fun. 
  • Getting the steam sale discount was ok, but I fear the ongoing temptation of DLC. 

I’m having so much fun discovering how to play a Civ game again. Just need to now get 60 hours in a day. 

Civ screenshot from the Interwebs

Frustrated with Garrison Missions

This comment reflects some of my frustration with Garrison Missions:

I have 25/25 level 100 followers as well. All are epic. All are ilevel 630 or higher. I’ve seen at most *3* ilevel 630 quests in the past WEEK at least. And I keep getting nothing but quests for more exp. I don’t mind it *TOO* much since I have a salvage yard, but it’s really annoying when it plateaus into uselessness…

In my case I have 20x active followers, and two inactive. 9x Epic, 11 Rare. All are ilevel 610 or higher, 15x or so are ilevel 630 or higher, 2x are 645. Yet my available higher level (615 & 630) missions are rewarding gear that is below what my character can use, and not rewarding upgrades for the followers either. Further the list of missions contains a large amount of xp missions and frankly almost everything on the rewards lists is almost pointless.

So I get gear I cannot use and nothing to help improve the situation. That’s frustrating. It appears that the inactive followers also influence what missions are offered. That’s silly.

Garrison Missions need to be changed, and changed in a way that allows players to prioritise or alter what missions they get. The WoW Forum thread above has some reasonable suggestions. Here are a few:

  • Firstly increase the drop rate of Follower upgrades. God it is terrible now. Then when the list of active followers is wearing all epics, greatly reduce the drop rate of those rewards.
  • The gear rewards should be either potential upgrades, or don’t show them at all. There is no point doing a mission which rewards a 630 gear item when you’re wearing an epic. Particularly true when the same reward appears twice (i.e. the bloody trinkets).
  • Allow a player to select what type of reward they wish to prioritise (follower upgrades, gear upgrades, xp, gold) and the missions will tend toward that. Allow the selection to be changes per day.
  • Allow 10x missions per day to be “dropped” and replaced with different rewards? I dislike this as it is replacing a random unknown selection with another unknown random value.
  • Lower the cost of making a follower inactive. Where is the rationale that it is 250 gold? It means that I won’t collect any more than I need. Ever.
  • Inactive followers do not factor into the mission selection. I’m sure they are not meant to, but they must be.

I had more fun in the early days of doing garrison missions than now. We had more diversity in missions, better combos, and far more tangible rewards. What felt like an interesting mini-game and offered rewards for the character now feels like a waiting game and a grind.

barracks

What a nice new Runeblade!

Something fun from the salvage yard is the class specific gear drops which emulate the starting character gear. For Death Knights the gear-set is easily obtainable, except that a new two handed rune-sword model was added in WoD. It is a really nice looking weapon, and I’ve luckily found one in a crate. The weapon goes by many names depending on what the source is (quests, crates, etc) – Heart Lesion Greatsword.

What might be coming in WoW v6.1?

What might be coming in WoW v6.1? (blizzard official source, and wowhead’s views)

  • A Legendary follower for the garrison, as part of the legendary quest chain. Cool.
  • Ability to send tweets and screenshots out directly from the UI. Um, wow.
  • Better flight paths. Good.
  • Game-Time tokens tradable for gold. Maybe at this stage. #Plex
  • An heirloom tab, which might be wonderful, or might be pox.
  • Maybe the new Blood Elf models. Meh, not fussed.
  • Another raid. Good.

Bring it on, looking forward to it.

Molten Core at 100 done

Aside

Molten Core is done! I feel like I can de-stress a little as I’ve gained the mount and the helm, and don’t plan to return to there at 100 anytime soon. It was great to do though. I plan to open up an Alt now so they can also have a Garrison, to both feed my main and have a different leveling experience through Warlords.

For MC I joined an in progress fight so only had to fight the last 4 bosses, and our group had a far harder time on the trash than the bosses. Strategy wise I think there were enough folk who knew what to kill in what order, that everyone else just followed along – so it was like very old school MC. I missed Sam yelling for decurse, and thought that Ragnaros in particular had been toned back in terms of difficulty to make the experience more LFR friendly. Nobody made the joke about looting the damn dogs, sadly.

Art-MC

Finally level 100

Aside

My Death Knight Mortigen is finally level 100. He ding’ed in the Spire whilst handing in part of the Terrok story chain. Immediately I used the armor upgrades for level 100 I had earned from Follow Missions. Then I signed up for the Bronze challenge mode, and was extraordinarily lucky to get an epic weapon from the reward. Last night I also queued up for the “movie train instance” (Grim Rail Depot?) and fought through that instance with repeat wipes. It was worth it, due to the two 615 items which I won.

Aside – Grim Rail is a terrible instance for melee dps. Constantly avoiding ground effects, constantly moving, circling around opponents as they switch facing so often, and sprinting between foes. I’ve only been in there once, but I am almost certain that range have a better time. Blarrrg. Granted there may be better ways to do the fights than what I saw; I’ll see. I’m not looking forward to the heroic mode.

So I’ve only just ding’ed and I’m item level 604. Not bad for a dirty casual, but I need to keep the pressure on to get to 615 so that I can queue and repeat-wipe in Molten Core for the damn mount. The helm would be good, but I’m not going for that.

Slowly leveling, very impressed

I’m about 5% away from level 93 now, and still loving Shadowmoon Valley. As a zone it is well put together. The rares spawn often, they drop interesting and sometimes useful things, the monsters are squishy enough (especially if you overgear the zone), and the travel time between hubs and quest locations is enough to get you “into” the zone and exploring without being tedious. There are the odd special things found along the way, like the quest to kill animals for steaks, or the special events for the garrison.

It is also a little morbid to look at this zone and think about what we know of the alternative from our character’s own timeline. I can see parallels in the geography and that helps make the story’s impact stronger. I wish I was able to level faster, but not at the cost of missing the experience.

ShadowMoonValley-Draenor

More WoW Round-up

  • Subscriber news – Polygon is reporting that WoW is back over 10 million paying players at the moment. That means Warlords of Draenor has returned WoW back to The Burning Crusade subscriber numbers. Fantastic. More players means more diversity and options. 3.3 million sales at launch.
  • Observation – Local Australian severs have made a huge difference in the game to me in terms of latency. No longer to monsters infrequently “stagger-jump” or rever to a place slightly when they are fighting. I love it.
  • Observation – It appears that the massive login queues are (mostly) gone too.
  • WoW’s 10th Anniversary event starts soon in Molten Core – see rant below… It contains foul language, so you’ve been warned in advance.

Continue reading

Quick WoW round-up

Fair to say WoW is aborbing my thoughts and time again, so here are a few things which happened recently.

  • A WoW periodic table of personalities, because re-thinking organisation of these personalities is kind of fun. Good stuff.
  • Subscribers have been gifted 5 days free from Blizzard for the launch issues, which is a nice way of saying thanks and sorry. Good on them. I want to say to that the posts and comments everywhere ranting about how this is “expected” or somehow not enough make me a little ashamed to be the same species as the whiners. Just a little.
  • Garrisons are fun, even for the short period I’ve been in mine, at level 91. What I seeing and what I’m reading are looking good.
  • A WoW Paladin guide for preparation for Warlords, how-tos, and such.

Happy hunting, farming, killing, looting, and roleplaying – TyphoonAndrew

Wow ain’t dying.

Aside

WoW Nagrand oceanic. Position 3642 in queue, 126 mins. Dead? Right.
I’m kind of happy it’s like this: we have players everywhere.
Perhaps the Ddns attack affected times, perhaps it’s all the returning players. A bit of realm maint and the odd tweak we might see more capacity. I’ll wait. The content isn’t going anywhere.

Updates:

  • Position and time flings around a bit; from 45 mins to 450 minutes. Yikes!
  • 2 hours later, still a 2+ hour wait estimated.
  • 3 hours later, 45 min to 1.5 hours to wait. And I think the queue is going down because we all need to go to bed to sleep.

WoW subscriptions and resubscription

After a day of chatting about WoW to the nefarious gamer who first recruited me to World of Warcraft; I’ve resubscribed. It took a day to break my will, which means one of my favourite sayings by Oscar Wilde applies totally, “I can resist everything except temptation”.

Last night I ran Karazhan’s first boss five times to try to get the mount, UP once, and solved the archaeology Horn which makes your character bigger. It was great.

Related old news says WoW subs have increased again too as players return for Warlords (MMO Champ 14 Oct). We’ve seen this increase occur once before with the pre-Mists subscribers. It isn’t news in itself, but I think we will see a slightly different result from the Mists pre-sub drop off. My hunch (based upon only my gut feel) is that this time the subs will take significantly longer to drop away. They will drop away, but I’d not be surprised to see them climb upward again before doing so, and certainly expect the initial downward drop to take longer than it did in MoP.

Why? Part of my hunch is that the simplification from the item changed and the squish will remove a gearing attitude, and thus make it easier to maintain multiple sets, and therefore grant flexibility. There is also the appeal of WoD as something new, which is also a return to something that was popular back in the day. The Burning Crusade really built the WoW player-base, and many of us look fondly on Draenor.

Lastly I think they know how to make reasonable content, and many players and companies know that this formula works well. Yes, it is grindy, and a themepark, and often unbalanced, and also affected by a vocal minority … but everything is, especially in computer games. If Blizzard deliver quality the players will play. So far it looks promising.

wow-subs-Oct-2014